Graduate Studies 


The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Auburn University is committed to the highest excellence in both research and teaching. The department consists of 22 full-time faculty members and is in the process of expanding. The academic backgrounds of the faculty provide a varied and well-balanced spectrum of expertise and research interests. Graduate students can choose research directors ranging from senior faculty with established research groups and reputations to younger faculty rapidly founding their own research careers. Cutting edge research is being carried out in the areas of biological chemistry, synthesis methodology, molecular recognition and detection, new material synthesis and characterization, computational chemistry and energetics as well as in the traditional areas of analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry.

Research groups are small to moderate in size, resulting in close-knit groups of undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral associates and fellows, staff and faculty. Extensive partnerships take place within the department, and there is a general feeling of camaraderie between the students and faculty. Furthermore, many of the faculty collaborate with other departments such as Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Textile Engineering, Physics, and Materials Engineering.

The Program of Studies for the Ph.D. and M.S. Chemistry and Biochemistry Degrees

The department offers the Ph.D. degree, as well as the M.S. degree, in analytical chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry. The program of study is quite flexible, and is designed to give each student the best opportunity to develop at his or her pace toward a goal of professional excellence. Prior to their first academic quarter at Auburn University, incoming chemistry graduate students take standard placement examinations in analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry. The results of the placement examinations are then used to arrange a program of study especially tailored to the individual student's background and interests. However, since a sound fundamental knowledge in all areas of chemistry is a necessity for a professional chemist, all students are required to complete a graduate core course in (or obtain credit for by examination) analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry, as well as biochemistry. The student and a research supervisor choose additional graduate course requirements with the assistance of the student's advisory committee. In addition to the course work, students are required to take and pass cumulative examinations. These examinations are given monthly during the academic year. All graduate students are required to pass three of these exams ("cumes") in the first two years of their study. This completes the requirements for M.S. students, but Ph.D. students are required to pass a total of six cumes by the end of their third year of study. All M.S. and Ph.D. candidates are required to take a final oral examination dealing with their theses or dissertations.

Those who are interested can browse through the electronic collection of Graduate Theses and Dissertations from our department.

2011 Graduate Student Awards
Sambasivarao Somisetti (middle) and Hong Xie (right) have won 2011 Dow Fellowships from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Mr. Somisetti works with Prof. Orlando Acevedo and Ms. Xie works with Prof. Wei Zhan.  Somisetti has also been selected by the Graduate Council as one of ten Outstanding Doctoral Students for the 2010-2011 academic year.  Students are pictured with Prof. Vince Ortiz, the department chair (left).

Last updated: 07/20/2011